South Korean President Moon Jae-in's approval rating falls amid soaring housing prices

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's approval rating fell to 47 per cent. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (BLOOMBERG) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in's approval rating fell to its lowest level in four months, with many respondents blaming his government for not doing enough to rein in soaring real estate prices.

His approval rating fell to 47 per cent, down from 50 per cent a week ago, a weekly Gallup Korea poll released Friday (July 10) showed.

His disapproval number rose to 44 per cent from 39 per cent a week ago, it said.

Mr Moon's government said Friday it will raise property taxes for multiple-home owners, marking the latest action to curb excessive house price gains that have fuelled public discontent over inequality and property speculation.

His government this week ramped up pressure on officials to unload their second homes in the high-priced capital Seoul.

Affordable housing has been one of Mr Moon's key policy objectives since taking office in May 2017 with a vow to improve the living standards of a wider range of people.

Yet a mismatch of supply and demand in popular neighbourhoods and widespread investment purchases have seen prices soar in Seoul.

The slipping poll numbers come after Mr Moon and his progressive Democratic Party scored a supermajority in parliamentary elections in April, riding a wave of public support for their management of the coronavirus crisis.

Since then, Mr Moon has also seen Pyongyang rebuff his attempts at rapprochement.

A top North Korean foreign ministry official this week branded Mr Moon a "meddlesome man," for trying to broker talks between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and said inter-Korean relations are bound to go bankrupt if Mr Moon's government keeps talking "nonsense."

This comes after North Korea in June blew up a $15 million (S$20.9 million) joint liaison office paid for by Seoul that South Korea built north of the border two years ago as a symbol of Mr Moon's policy of reconciliation.

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